As recently as 15 years ago, serving the public as a travel agent was a hot job. People even went to college specifically to land a position in the travel agency career field. Fast forward to now, and some who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Travel and Tourism Management are watching their diplomas gather dust as they work in a completely different endeavor.
The main reason is simply because of the widespread influence and general availability of the Internet. The Internet is now how most people make their plane reservations, secure their hotels, pull together their travel package deals, and almost anything else related to travel. No longer do they need to walk into an office and have the agent search for a great deal and then pay a commission afterward. Now it is much easier to search online and find the deals there.
Hence, travel agents are falling off left and right. Businesses are closing shop and being paid even less than ever – a stark contrast to their popularity just a short time ago. However, there are those few people who cannot dream of doing any other kind of work. And agents still venture out many times per year to explore the world with their families for less than it would cost just one person to make a trip across their own country. The deals are what lure them in and the enjoyment of the job is what keeps them motivated.
For some people, the allure of becoming a travel agent is intense. If this is you, then the time to get started is now. You don’t necessarily need to graduate from an accredited university to become a travel agent, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Those who do graduate from college are normally the higher paid travel agents because, though you can attend a 9-month technical school, you won’t receive the quality and depth of education that you would at a typical university.
For this career, it is important that you possess good computer skills since there are many different systems and software packages you must know and use each day. You must also learn the “ins and outs” of the travel agency business, and be up-to-date on current travel advisories, passport information and special deals waiting in the wings.
If this sounds like a career path you might enjoy, then go for it. There is nothing wrong with following your dream and doing something you truly love, even if you know that salaries in the travel agency industry aren’t what they once were.